What Is YouTube SEO?

What Is YouTube SEO?
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: February 28, 2023

What is YouTube SEO strategy? SEO on YouTube prevents your uploads from getting lost on this enormous, consistently growing repository for millions of other videos. This kind of SEO makes your videos as discoverable as possible on YouTube.

YouTube SEO has various benefits, such as lengthier watch time and wider-ranging brand awareness, resulting in increased leads and sales.

Since its inception, YouTube has evolved into a platform for digital marketing, following similar fundamentals to Google in terms of generating search rankings and results. That is why strategies for SEO on YouTube play a vital role in better visibility and more significant optimization for digital creators and marketers.

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YouTube SEO Meaning

YouTube SEO involves optimizing a channel, its playlists, videos, titles, subtitles, metadata, tags, and descriptions both on the platform and outside.

Search engines depend on text data to systemize and rank content. In this light, maximizing the use of your video’s accompanying transcripts and captions can significantly impact your SEO on YouTube for SERP ranking, viewership, and engagement boost.

How Does SEO in YouTube Work?

YouTube search intelligence aims to deliver the best search experience to its users.

When a user searches on the platform, its bot rummages through all channels and videos to provide the best possible YouTube search engine ranking with results indexed according to relevance. The most valuable and relevant results vary from one user to another.

On the one hand, the YouTube algorithm determines and customizes these results based on user search and browsing history. On the other hand, it favors content with correctly filled title, description, and tag fields, too. Hence, it allows these videos a better placement on the search results page.

In addition, a video or a channel with more engagement, i.e., thumbs up, comments, and subscribers, positions itself higher than others that do not perform on the same level. This is because engagement and traction suggest that a video offers valuable content and a beneficial user experience.

Tips to Improve Your YouTube Search Engine Rankings

Follow these approaches to build your YouTube channel and rank your videos higher on searches.

Select and Use the Right Keywords

Select the most relevant keywords and phrases to squeeze in your titles and metadata. A good keyword possesses these key attributes:

  • They accurately describe what your video is about.
  • They are what viewers typically use and enter to look up content like yours.

Here are pointers to keep in mind when optimizing your YouTube videos with keywords:

  • Perform YouTube SEO keyword research. Look for words and phrases users type in on search through YouTube’s Search Suggest functionality. Key in a word or a phrase related to your niche on the search bar and browse the platform’s suggestions. You can also find proposed keywords from your YouTube Search report under Traffic Sources.
  • Try out your keywords. Check how many results each generates. You will want to use keywords with a high search volume and low competition. These features enable you to stand out from the sea of videos on YouTube.
  • Ensure your title, tags, and descriptions are keyword-optimized. Use your target keywords in the video so they appear in the transcripts and captions. These are critical elements for an effective YouTube SEO strategy.
  • Do not stuff texts with keywords or their variations. Avoid sounding like a bot mechanically reciting a string of keywords. Instead, incorporate keywords naturally and thoughtfully into the texts associated with your video. Place the most important ones closer to the start of the title and the description, when possible.

Add Accurate Closed Captions and Video Transcript

While YouTube generates automated captions and transcriptions for videos, it is advisable to integrate accurate transcriptions into the description manually, and to add accurate closed captions using SubRip Subtitle (SRT) file.

Clean and precise transcriptions and captions offer the following benefits:

  • They eliminate the risk of getting your videos labeled spam due to incomprehensible, almost gibberish auto-captions and transcripts.
  • Your videos get a better ranking on search results owing to enhanced YouTube SEO as the search engine crawls through correct caption text and transcript.
  • These create a more pleasant user experience, engaging your audiences and boosting your viewership with fully digestible subtitles and transcription copy.
  • You will make your videos accessible to viewers with hearing impairment, allowing you to reach a larger audience.
  • Transcripts can serve as timestamps for your videos, making them easier to scan.
  • You can derive other content from transcripts, such as YouTube shorts and website copy. For instance, you can turn a transcribed explainer video into a blog post or an infographic.

Offer Subtitles in Different Languages

Leverage YouTube’s massive global reach, expand your audience reach and increase traffic to your channel from all over the world. With subtitles in foreign languages, non-English speakers can still enjoy your uploads. Plus, this YouTube SEO tactic can move you up higher on search rankings for non-English keywords because of lower competition.

Although this is a genuinely clever and inventive SEO method, you should be extra-thorough with the accuracy of your translations. Employ the services of a professional translator to guarantee excellent quality subtitles.

Present an Attractive, Compelling Thumbnail

Getting your thumbnail image right significantly affects the click-through rate (CTR). These are the things to keep in mind when creating your video thumbnail:

Use high-quality, high-contrast, and unique images at a 16 by 9 aspect ratio.

Note that YouTube overlays the duration on the thumbnail's lower right corner. Ensure that it does not cover any important detail on your thumbnail.

Make your thumbnails the visual illustration of your primary target keywords. It can help push your ranking higher on searches filtered according to content relevance.

Set Up Your YouTube Cards and End Screens

YouTube cards are preformatted calls-to-action that appear on the top right corner of your video during viewing. They are easily clickable for users who want to explore more content on your channel. These can redirect them to your other related videos, possibly your website, and even a donation or crowdfunding site that you support.

YouTube cards keep them on the platform for longer and, in turn, help optimize your videos and your position on the SERPs.

While YouTube cards pop up mid-viewing, end screens, as the name suggests, are displayed toward the last part of your video. They contain more calls-to-action, candidly telling your audiences what to do next. End screens encourage online users to take further action like:

  • Watching more YouTube videos on your channel
  • Giving the video they just watched a “like”
  • Subscribing to your channel
  • Learning more about your brand by going to your website or socials
  • Purchasing your merchandise

Aim for Quality User Engagement

Spark the interest and capture the attention of your viewers within the first 15 seconds. Make your content so persuasive and gripping so that your audience will take the time to leave comments, click on the “thumbs up” button, and potentially subscribe to your channel.

There is a strong correlation between engagement metrics—number of views, likes, shares, comments, and subscriptions—and a higher search ranking. YouTube is vigilant over how audiences respond and react to your videos because an increased quality engagement keeps online users on the platform.

Monitor and Examine YouTube Analytics

Track your analytics and find out if your YouTube SEO strategies are working. Metrics help you understand which areas you are performing well and which need modifications in approach.

These are the metrics you should keep an eye out for in your analytics reports:

  • Watch Time: This is a major indicator of high engagement and a substantial factor affecting your search ranking. Watch Time refers to the number of minutes viewers spend watching your videos.
  • Unique Viewers: This metric analyzes the number of one-time viewers you get within a specified period.
  • Subscriber Growth: Discover the rate at which you gain or lose subscribers and where they are primarily located. This demographic equips you with information necessary for adjusting your audience targeting initiatives.
  • Impressions CTR: These measure the number of times users click and stay on your video after it appears on their recommendations list, trending section, or homepage. An interesting and inclusive thumbnail can help up a video’s CTR.
  • YouTube Cards CTR: It reveals the effectiveness of your CTAs and other card notifications.
  • Traffic Sources: This data shows how audiences come across your videos. You can use this report to evaluate where you should invest more in your promotion strategies.

Pay attention to patterns uncovered on your YouTube analytics. Take note of the content type that resonates most with the general viewing public. See how your video lengths and posting schedule affect your metrics.

Useful YouTube SEO Tools

Drive your YouTube SEO marketing efforts in the direction most suitable for your branding. Besides free Google SEO tools, the following can help streamline your promotional campaigns and projects. Check out the tools listed below.


An excellent platform for marketers and content creators, Canva is a user-friendly design tool that eliminates the complexities of creating high-resolution visuals and illustrations. You can use Canva to put together your thumbnails. It allows customization in a breeze, too.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

It is time to find a spot on your SEO company tactics for Ahrefs Keyword Explorer if you have not yet. Take advantage of this fantastic SEO tool to track your YouTube search engine rankings. It is also excellent for generating high-search volume keywords most valuable to your content.

VidIQ Vision

Discover your YouTube statistics efficiently and check out this plug-in browser extension software. VidIQ Vision quickly analyzes your ongoing video performance, giving you a glimpse of your traction and average watch time, among other metrics.

Wrap-Up: What Is YouTube SEO Effective Strategy?

YouTube SEO is a broad subject that factors in several aspects and features that determine the success of your video content. It mainly focuses on getting your uploads high up on YouTube search engine ranking through fittingly optimized title and descriptions texts.

The good news is that you do not have to navigate your way around the platform blindly. Efficient tools are readily available to help you with YouTube SEO—from keyword research to stats and analytics. The technicalities of YouTube SEO are essential to learn. However, stirring up traction and engagement depends on how interesting, valuable, and relatable your videos are.

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